Ok. I am probably going to send some people over the edge with this one and end up getting flamed to death….but here goes….
I recently went back and re-read "Patriots" again... the first time there was something that nagged at me, but I couldn't put my finger on it... so I read it again. Still wasn't sure what it was, but now that some time has passed, I think I finally figured it out.
The story is fine and all... I enjoyed reading it. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the author personally. However there is one aspect that overshadows the entire book in an almost subliminal way. That something is arrogance.
I know its “TEOTWAWKI” and all that, but the characters end up doing some things that really bother me. Further, I am even more bothered when I start to think that most (if not all) writers of fiction insinuate themselves and their thoughts and beliefs into their stories.
In the story, as I recall, after everyone is safely ensconced in their retreat, there are some incidents with people passing by. On more than one occasion they stop, detain, disarm, interrogate and pass judgment on others. Now supposedly these are solid, law-abiding, Christian people. Being the case, their religious beliefs should have stopped them from some the things they did. If they are true believers in the Constitution (which it would seem to indicate they are) then what they do flies in the very face of that document and what it stands for. Either way, they appear to be in direct conflict with their beliefs.
We even have a case where a couple of people are determined to be engaging in cannibalism, and one of the characters shoots them…. In my book that is murder. They are not empowered to be judge and jury. I know some will say, “but there was no law after SHTF!” My answer is “so what?” Whether cannibal, looter or any other despicable life form, (even just the mundanely ill-equipped) the characters decide who is “good” or “bad”.
Someone has a stash of watches on them? Looter. Kill him.
Just because someone has chosen to gather useless items after SHTF does not mean you have the right to punish him. *(If they were trying to loot from you, that is different of course since we would have caught them red-handed) Without witnesses, a trial or any other form of civilized structure, the characters have decided that their way is the “right” way. They have been magically endowed with the ability to know who deserves to live or die.
I do NOT advocate that they should have ignored the law-breakers. I do not say the “evil” people are right, should be running around free, or any other bleeding heart liberal ideology. But they did NOT have the right to do the things they did. Violating what is right to “fight evil” does not make it right.
Stopping people on the road as they pass by your land in the old days was how the elite upper class treated people. It’s no different in this case. For that matter, if there “is no law now” then by what right do they lay claim to the land they inhabit? Land deeds are only government documents recognizing a person’s exclusive right to use that piece of land. If the law is “gone”, so is the only entity that legally recognizes your “ownership”.
Putting the question of ownership aside, stopping people at the gate, having them move along, and even coercing them through a show of superior firepower are all acceptable means of protecting oneself. Unilaterally detaining, disarming and questioning people is WRONG. They become no better than the neighborhood bully who forces things to be done his way.
If you have read this far, thanks for hanging with me. To sum it up, while it is of course a work of fiction and characters often do things we don’t think should or would be done, that is not what finally bothered me the most about the story…. As I stated earlier, writers put their own beliefs into the things they create. SO my question becomes, does the author truly feel that he is so morally superior that he has the ability to act in this manner?
If he does, then I fear for him, his family and his friends.